Monday, 2 March 2015

Gunung Nuang Ultra - My Second Trail Run

Actually, I didn't do much running because I am not a mountain goat! Most people ran; they are hardcore but I stuck to my plan of walking the inclines and ran the declines. I admit, I am lazy.

I plan to finish the Gunung Nuang Ultra within 12 hours and I want to savour every minute of it. Plus I really want to train to be on my feet for long hours to prepare for another challenge in April!

I've never done any trail race after Salomon X-Trail way back in 2012. One baby trail experience and here I was, in the company of many experienced trail runners, setting off to do the Gunung Nuang Ultra.

I've been to Gunung Nuang a few times before but as a hiker. Been to other trails too but I don' run on trails. Cannot see very well so I played safe, I just walked. LOL
Gunung Nuang Ultra is a 12-hour endurance run held from 6.30am - 6.30pm. This year, it was held on Mar 1st, 2015. Around 260 runners registered, if I am not mistaken.

The format is simple. Just complete the 10K loop from Renjer-Balak Trail (never ending road)-renjer, and do it as many as you can or want to.

I feel that the loop/lap format of Gunung Nuang Ultra is a good platform for any runners who want to move on to ultra trail events. You get to practise and hone your endurance and yet, you'd feel safe knowing there is a water station and support at 5K mark.

My goal was simple.
Complete each loop (notice the circled number, up to 5?) within the targeted time and aim to finish in 11hours 50minutes. 
First and second 10K loop went by without too much suffering. But I guess my plan of taking it easy for the first loop (it was still dark after all), made other runners quite worried about my well-being. As I plan to last for 12-hours, I didn't want to push too early in the race although my plan made me the last runner that day.

Furthermore, I warm-up really slowly and it was well after an hour that my calves stop screaming in protest and I felt more comfortable tackling the distance. 

Support from fellow runners and even friendly hikers and campers were really much appreciated. Not to forget the cheerful volunteers. ^^

Made through three loops well within my targeted time so I decided that I can afford a longer resting time. 

Apart from the official refreshment area set by the organiser, there were food sources (hahaha) from other supporters too and I hanged-out at the PACat Team support station. 

For the first and second loop, I feasted on watermelons and enjoyed soursop drinks to ensure that I fill my tummy and not get hungry on the trail. Nothing is more energy sapping for me than being hungry. 
Starting on my 3rd loop after 25min rest.

I stopped longer as it was already around lunch time, ate the nasi goreng with ayam goreng berempah served by the organiser and gorge on more watermelons.
After the third loop, friends came and supported us. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

So the rest stop got a little bit longer for not only rest and eat but also chatting and photo sessions. Hubby had to literally shoved me out to make me start on my fourth loop. LOL

Anyway, both my knees had started to get painful well into the third loop and I started icing them each time I got down to make it feel slightly better. It was sheer murder trying to run down on steep declines with painful knees, I tell you.

I started the 4th loop with an ice-cream in hand because the organiser treated us runners with free ce-cream. And thank goodness a fellow runner later caught up with me and we chatted and chatted while going up the loop again. 

It was always such a relief to arrive to the end of the "Balak Trail" as it meant that we get to make a u-turn and head back to the starting line although it also meant my knees would later need to do a whole lot of pounding.
Photo credit : missyblurkit.com
Hubby promised to accompany me finish the 5th loop together so we set off to do one final loop with 2 and a half hours to spare before the cut-off time.

It was hard to do the 5th loop. Not only the knees were hurting, my crotch was in pain too but never say die, right? I just needed to just keep moving, after all. But I was too slow this time.

Friends caught up with us around 1K into the loop and a friend kindly "towed" and pushed me up. I called her evil but I am truly grateful for making me move faster.

Arrived the 5K mark with an hour and 10 minutes to spare. Hubby got worried but I was feeling relaxed because I somehow was confident I'd at my slowest made it down within an hour. *Sombong!*

I thank the volunteers at the 5K mark and happily told them that I won't be seeing them again. I'm finishing my run and soon they'll be finishing their shift. ^^

Anyways, much as I tried to run down each time we faced a decline, I had to stop or slow down because the knees protested whenever it was too steep but I started to run again as we reached the cemented (ugh... why la cement the trail?) part of the trail.
I made it down in 11 hours 50 minutes and 25 seconds. See, the last lap going down took me less than an hour. ^^
My 5 loops done and the temperature of the day.

We were lucky this year. It wasn't as hot as last year.

Happy I made it although there were a few times when thoughts of just doing 30K or 40K did came up in my mind. Glad I persevered and grateful that hubby would push me to not linger too much.
Photo credit : missyblurkit.com
Thank you for everyone involved that day.

I had a great learning experience.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Sweet Indulgence At Manhattan Fish Market

Three desserts we got to enjoy FOC over lunch earlier today at Manhattan Fish Market, because a new staff there somehow managed to accidentally drop seven glasses of sweet drinks over a friend at our table.

No, we didn't scream at the staff. No point anyway. After all, the staff did apologise.

No need to be such a hag over accidents unless nobody apologise. My friend got a tad wet and sticky but not drenched, luckily. 

And getting the sizzling brownie with ice cream (a must try), icy hot fish bananas (it look better on the menu than in real life) and sizzling banana fritters with ice cream was nice.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Nuang In Loops For Saturday

After doing the Blackwater (Ayer Hitam) trail in Puchong on Friday, hubby and I spent part of last week's Saturday (the next day) at Nuang.

We didn't aim to summit Nuang this time but rather tried to do the Renjer-Balak Trail loop. Just 2 loops though. A loop of 5K ascent and 5K descent.
The elevation map for the two loops.

Hubby did tell me to continue alone if I wanted to do a third loop and although I didn't plan to complete the third loop, I did actually wanted to get a 21K mileage that day.

Turned out we were short of a few km and while I wanted to continue while hubby rested, hubby told me later to accept whatever mileage we got and stop. Dang! Hahaha

It's actually funny that I suffered going up but then still wanted to continue just so I get my mileage in. Funny but pretty normal for most runner friends I know. Adoi. Hahaha
Photo credit : Kahwai
We bumped into quite a number of familiar faces that day.

And plenty of friendly faces too, despite being strangers. ^^
Photo credit : Kahwai
Still can jump, halfway up during the 2nd loop!

This time, we spent about 4 and a half hours at Nuang. I've already promised son we'd be back by 3.00pm and a promise must be kept.

Anyways, we'll be back at Nuang this Sunday.
For this.

Nuang Ultra. A 12-hour run at Gunung Nuang.

Me, as a participant.

Hubby as a supporter.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Blackwater Trail On A Friday

Last week, at the very last minute, we ditched our plan to travel back to my hometown in Raub for the Chinese New Year weekend and chose to stay home I instead.

We didn't plan for anything special during the 4-days long CNY weekend, other than spending time with each other. And oh, a little bit of training, of course. ^^

On Friday, Hubby and I went to a trail which I haven't visited before in Puchong. Hubby is familiar with the Ayer Hitam trail (or fondly called Blackwater)  in Puchong as he had trained there on weekend nights with his buddies during the puasa month but it was my first time to visit it.
The start of the trail.

A popular landmark amongst his gang is a shop named Tomato across the street.
The trail is located beside a housing development.

So nice lah for the people in the neighbourhood to have such a lovely trail right at their backyard.
The start of the trail didn't look too promising but once we got to the wooded area, it sure  was interesting not to mention kinda challenging.

But then again, if I say it was challenging... maybe it wasn't for others. Quite a number of kids tagging along with their parents (a lady brought three little girls through the trail) and enjoyed the trail too.
I have to say, the trail is very clean. Good job to those who took care of the trail and also for the trail users who refrained from littering there.
From this sign, one can either can to the left or right to complete a 3K loop of the trail.

Hubby hid his 1.5ltr mineral water bottle here and we replenished our smaller bottle each time we completed a loop.

We did three loops on Friday, tackling both side of the loop; climbing from both left and right so we kinda get a balanced workout that day. For me personally, I feel that starting from the right side was more challenging than from the left side.
The hilly trail was a mixture of clear path like this and more technical paths that we had to climb up. I sure had a good workout that day.
Me and my pink Adidas Kanadia shoes.

The Kanadia was a good choice for this route. I like the grip on red earth/clay surfaces but it's not so good for trails with stones, especially wet ones. Crossing a river with Kanadia has never been fun for me.

It took us 3 hours of hiking to complete 3 3K loops and although it would be nice to do a 4th loop, we didn't have much time for that. It was Friday and by the time we finished the 3rd loop, it was already 11.42am. Time to go back!
The elevation map.

Three peaks, for the three loops done. ^^ 
Later, we had a quick briyani lunch that day because at the Mamak, Friday is briyani day. Opted to eat the briyani with black pepper crab.

All this, for a mere RM6.50. bargain, I tell you. ^^

Monday, 23 February 2015

A Night At Pullman Hotel, Putrajaya

If you remember, hubby and I decided to kaypoh-kaypoh at a 48-hours run on Feb 13 - 15, 2015 and we also tried to run in those three days. (The post here).

Son stayed at his grandfather's house on Friday night as he needed to go to school on Saturday morning for his school's cross country run but later that Saturday, we checked-in to Pullman Hotel in Putrajaya.

The reason was simple : we wanted him to be close by when we go out for our night run(s) on Saturday night and also on Sunday morning.

Pullman Hotel was fully booked that Saturday, what with Valentine's Day celebration and also a TKC Carnival and Run which was held that weekend at the Maritime Centre next to the hotel.

We actually booked the "Explore Malaysia" package that included a superior room with breakfast and also F&B or Spa voucher for RM305.28 (inclusive tax) but got upgraded to a one bedroom apartment.

While it was nice to get a big room, the handling of guests at the reception counter was a bit wanting.

I mean, I've never before just given my room key without even a briefing about what my room entitles me for.

I had assumed the staff who showed us to the lift would brief us, but when I asked her about breakfast and our F&B voucher, she informed me that she had no idea.

Imagine, I had to go out from the lift and queue again at the reception!!! Grrr...

And I guess when we were there, Pullman just happen to have almost all the staff freshly employed. We asked a staff who was at the first floor the direction of our room, and while she was helpful, she told us she had no idea about the layout of that particular floor. Another grrr...
Good thing our room was nice and very spacious.
One bedroom apartment with king bed.
And a rollaway bed in the living room.
And an extra set of toiletries for the third guest.
A nice pantry but the coffee machine was faulty.

Nope, didn't bother to complain about it.

We checked-in around 3pm, and rested in our room for a few hours; after all, both hubby and I hadn't had a sleep since the night before as we spent the night from 9pm - 6.00am running and then headed straight to pick up Son for his cross country run.

Later in the evening we went out to utilise our F&B voucher (RM50 rebate for a minimum RM100 spent at their F&B outlet) but the coffee house was full.

We later checked with the staff manning the reception counter whether we can utilise the voucher at the lounge and was told that it was OK.
Just a light dinner for us.
Because Hubby and I planned to run that night.
My dinner was an open face smoked salmon sandwich. Yumms.
And we finished off with this green tea cake.

It was nice and relaxing to linger at the lounge, that hubby and I kinda started late for our run.

Thumbs up to the lone staff manning the lounge. Helpful and friendly.

We only went up to our room to change after 9.30pm and after making sure Son was comfy and happy; we went out to start our run at 10.30pm!

We got back after 3.00am and was up again at 7.00am. Wouldn't want to miss breakfast! Hahaha

Anyways, our package included 2 breakfasts for adults and a free breakfast for a child under 12, but we were told by the coffee house staff that we needed to pay for our son. So damn irritating lah... Gotta keep reminding staff to check what our package entitled us to. Triple grrr...

Later, we checked-out early at 10.00am as we wanted to do another run; and support friends who were still running in the 48-hours run.

We were told that the rebate wasn't applicable for bills from the lounge when I queried about why there was no rebate for our dinner bill in the total bill. Quadruple grrrr....

Seems like the staff in question also don't know what and how the F&B rebate voucher work. Another more senior staff had to come and "showed" her how to deduct the RM50.00 off our total bill.

For such a nice, posh hotel; seems like Pullman lacks big time in staff training that weekend.

What happened?

They employed part-timers that weekend due to the glut of guests checking in, kah?

Nobody seems to know anything!

Good thing we got upgraded earlier, otherwise I probably had thrown a bigger tantrum that day.  And good thing I was more focused on running than the lack of knowledge from Pullman staff. HAHAHAHA

We were thinking of booking a night stay when I run in Putrajaya Night Marathon in October but maybe I should reconsider and book Everly Hotel instead. Hur hur hur.

Been a long time since I last grouched about a hotel, right? 

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